SCOTLAND'S rugby caps will benefit by about #1000 each of every

international that they play this season. That is their share of a

seven-figure deal that the Scottish Rugby Union have negotiated with the

proprietors of The Famous Grouse whisky.

It was announced yesterday at Murrayfield that the company would

become official sponsors of the international XV, home and away,

including tours. The deal, the first such agreement by any of the

Northern Hemisphere's five major rugby countries, is valued at more than

#1m over four years, beginning today -- the first of the new season --

and will run well beyond the 1995 Rugby World Cup, no doubt an

additional attraction to the sponsors.

For the first time, too, a sponsors' name will appear on Scottish

international players' kit in addition to the jersey manufacturers'

emblem. The Famous Grouse logo will be tagged on to the players' shorts.

With the sponsorship announcement, Scottish rugby has had two

momentous days already this week as a prelude to the season. On Monday,

the SRU intimated that Jim Telfer had been appointed as the first

director of rugby in any of the four home unions.

About #100,000 of the whisky sponsorship will be allocated to the

Scottish International Rugby Players' Trust fund each year.

Consequently, anyone playing in all five of Scotland's internationals

this season would be entitled to a cut of about #5000, and other

sponsorship deals under negotiation will top up that fee.

Such a pay-out could be seen as a seven-league step from amateurism

into professionalism, but Gavin Hastings, Scotland's captain, kept the

two sporting spheres in perspective.

''No one wants to be paid for playing,'' he said with pointed

emphasis, ''but there has been a feeling that we should be seen to have

some financial reward.''

International rugby players bring in mega-bucks for the sport.

Consequently, it is not unreasonable for them to be credited with

compensation for the time and effort they put into not only playing, but

also the extra preparation that is demanded of them in modern

international rugby.

Hastings, however, preferred to look to playing to win rather than to

earn more corn. ''Our aim is to be part of a successful international

side,'' he said. ''We're proud to have been part of two Grand Slams in

recent years.''

No incentive clause has been built into the deal. Bill Hogg, the SRU

secretary, was adamant about that. ''Our team expect to win. They don't

need incentives.'' John Goodwin, chairman of Matthew Gloag & Son Ltd,

proprietors of The Famous Grouse, said that his company would have

exclusive rights to whisky advertising at Murrayfield and in the

international programmes in addition to the logo on the players' shorts.

The SRU have avoided labelling their players like Formula One cars

even though the likes of Australia have already gone well down that

road, with the Wallabies' jerseys displaying the national emblem, the

sponsors' name, and the manufacturers' logo.

Gloag can also draw on squad players for promotional activities. Karen

Waterston, the company's UK marketing manager, said that details had yet

to be worked out, but members of the squad were already on call


Hastings, whose appointment as captain for the season was announced on

Monday, was joined at Murrayfield by half a dozen of his international


Hogg pointed out that by negotiating the team sponsorship, the SRU had

fulfilled their commitment 20 months ago to generate a substantial

amount of money for the players' trust.

Part of the Gloag deal, the union secretary explained, was that the

money should be split 50-50, and Hastings applauded the SRU for ''going

out and getting the sponsorship.'' Allocating the money to players is

carefully controlled by the trust's management committee comprising

representatives of the SRU and the players.

Fred McLeod, convener of the union's finance committee, explained that

a player could draw on his share of the fund at any time: ''They can

take it when they want it -- with tax deducted. It's all approved by the

Inland Revenue.''

McLeod and Hastings are on the trust's management committee. So are

Duncan Paterson, Scotland's team manager, Jim Telfer (though he may have

to drop out when he takes over as director of rugby in November), Iain

Milne, as a senior past cap, and one other player yet to be appointed to

join Hastings from the current squad.

Goodwin pointed out The Famous Grouse could now be credited with the

most substantial commitment to rugby by any whisky company. Gloag have

previously supported Scotland's tours to Japan and New Zealand, they

also back London Scottish, and over the past two years, they have

sponsored also Rugby World Cup's 1991 championship and the international

sevens earlier this year.